Rats given 1010 sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) orally were found to contain specific suppressor cells to SRBC in their Peyer's patches (PP) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) after 2 days of feeding. After 4 days of feeding, similar suppressor cells were found in the thymus and spleen, but they were missing in the PP or MLN. These suppressor cells effectively blocked IgM and IgG plaque-forming cell responses to SRBC in Mishell-Dutton cultures and delayed-type-hypersensitivity responses to SRBC when transferred to syngeneic recipients, but they did not affect responses to horse erythrocytes. The orally induced specific suppressor cells appeared to be T2 cells since their activity was eliminated by in vivo treatment of SRBC-fed rats with anti-rat lymphocyte serum but not by adult thymectomy. Because carrageenan partially relieved the suppression observed in culture, the actual suppressive mechanism may also involve a macrophage.

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This work was supported by United States Public Health Service Grants CA/AI-23887 and AI-06455. Presented in preliminary form before the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunologists, Atlanta, June 4–8, 1978.

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